At the second annual breakfast at Northeast Community College to observe Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, Pastor Raponzil Drake of First United Methodist Church in Norfolk gave the keynote speech.
A nationally known motivational speaker, Drake was one of the first students of color to attend an integrated school in Memphis, TN, after integration laws were implemented in the city in the 1970’s. She has worked for over 39 years in the United Methodist Church across several states and has edited and authored a number of academic and industry articles.
Drake spoke about the intersections of racial and economic justice at the event.
“He had a dream, but Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., as my elders would have me address (him), would insist today that we wake up. And stay woke. Economic genocide (will become) a reality not only for blacks but for many of the working poor among us and around the world.”
Drake said diversity is a matter of belief.
“I would insist that as we talk about diversity, one great starting place is to believe the stories, each other’s stories. Believe the histories, especially those told from the perspective of the oppressed, the persecuted or those who are poor.”
Dr. Michael Chipps, president of Northeast, said the College is dedicated to inclusion and acceptance.
“One of the last bastions of free thought in America should be a college. It should be based on inclusion, it should be based on acceptance, it should be based on free thought and discourse. For our students, faculty and staff, this is accomplished not only through our academic and extra-curricular programs but also through our study abroad programs and our international students here at Northeast.”
Monday’s event was sponsored, in part, by Hawks United, Northeast’s diversity and inclusion group, and Norfolk Mayor Josh Moenning’s Diversity Council.
Hawks United presented a certificate to the winner of an essay contest based on one of Dr. King’s famous quotes. Damien Knight, Neligh, of Elkhorn Valley Schools received a $500 scholarship to attend Northeast.
The student group partnered with the Northeast Foundation Office to provide all high school seniors in Madison, Pierce and Stanton counties an opportunity to write and submit an essay on the meaning of the quote, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”
Knight said he plans to attend the College next fall, where he will major in welding.
Area residents gathered on Monday to celebrate the life and legacy of the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. at the second annual Martin Luther King Day breakfast at Northeast Community College. The event event was sponsored, in part, by Hawks United, Northeast’s diversity and inclusion group, and Norfolk Mayor Josh Moenning’s Diversity Council.